How Cloud Computing is Helping Companies Stay Green

By Lisa Michael

Cloud computing is now being used by a wide variety of businesses around the world. Both large corporations and small businesses are now taking advantage of what it can offer.

There are many benefits of using cloud computing. It helps businesses simplify the management of their IT infrastructure, can help reduce operating costs, provides access to more computing power whenever it is needed and ensures that users always have access to their data, wherever they are.

One benefit of cloud computing that is often overlooked is its overall green aspect. When a company deploys a public or private cloud, this has many environmental benefits over using a traditional in-house data center.

Here is how the cloud helps computing stay greener:

Reduced Carbon Footprint

The lower carbon footprint that comes from cloud computing is one of its main benefits to the environment. Carbon emissions have been long associated with atmospheric pollution and climate change. As cloud computing data centers are designed to use energy a lot more efficiently, they have a much lower carbon footprint.

In fact, a study has shown that cloud computing has the potential of reducing carbon emissions from the IT industry by up close to 90 percent if it gets adopted by the majority of businesses worldwide.

Many cloud providers are interested in becoming greener and are taking action to reduce their carbon footprint by making investments in renewable energies.

While it’s true that most of the energy used by today’s data centers comes from fossil fuels, this is likely to change soon. There are projects to build centralized cloud data centers powered directly by renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar power.

Dematerialization and Minimized Waste

Dematerialization means replacing physical products with virtual ones, thus resulting in less waste and a lower carbon footprint for your business. Cloud-based technologies allow companies to operate in a way that greatly reduces their environmental impact.

For example, there are now many kinds of virtual meeting services which take advantage of the power of cloud computing. By hosting virtual meetings, businesses can meet with clients, vendors and partners from all over the world without requiring them to all be physically present in the same room. This reduces the need for transportation and thus cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Also, cloud storage services such as Microsoft’s OneDrive allow employees to work remotely and access necessary files from anywhere in the world. This results in lower overhead and fewer vehicles on the road.

Higher Utilization and Efficiency

IT equipment deployed in private data centers tends to have a low utilization rate, as most companies will acquire and deploy a sufficient amount of servers in anticipation of peak usage periods. The rest of the time, hardware may sit idle, which results in poor efficiency.

When a public cloud is deployed, different businesses share the same IT resources. As utilization and demand patters from multiple organizations or business units are combined together, a more efficient use of IT equipment can be achieved.

This eliminates the need to acquire and run more servers and other equipment to deal with peak loads. New automation technology used by cloud providers is very good at distributing use among available resources in a way that guarantees they’re being used in an optimal way. The end result is a data center that operates in a much more energy efficient manner.

Lower Electricity Consumption

With cloud computing, servers are virtualized and the actual hardware can be shared among different clients. This makes the entire infrastructure more utilized and results in energy efficiency rates that are 2 to 4 times higher when compared to private data centers.

Reducing your energy consumption can not only help your business save money, but also help protect the environment. Deploying a traditional data center on your own premises requires large investments, as you need to purchase not only the IT infrastructure, but also cooling and power management equipment.

On the other hand, one can save the initial and ongoing costs of having an on-premise data center by moving a variety of business applications to the cloud. Many companies have moved their CMS, email and internal hosted applications to cloud providers already. If you do so as well, you won’t need as much hardware in your offices, thus reducing your energy bills and allowing you to reinvest the savings in other projects.

Final Thoughts

Cloud computing has made significant changes to the way the IT industry operates and is constantly evolving to bring more benefits to businesses, organizations and individuals from all around the world. Not only does it make computing more efficient, affordable and convenient, but it also helps contribute to a greener world. If your company cares about safeguarding the environment, moving some of your workloads to the cloud can be an integral part of your overall green business strategy.


About the Author

Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. Feel free to connect with her on Twitter @LisaBMichaels.

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